Wales' Six Nations game against England to go ahead after reaching agreement

The players threatened strike amid contract dispute
The players threatened strike amid contract dispute

Wales' upcoming Six Nations game against England will proceed as per the schedule after the Welsh players decided to call off the strike following an agreement with the board.

The players had given a deadline of Wednesday to the Professional Rugby Board that comprised of the four regions in Wales - Cardiff, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets with even the squad announcement by head coach Warren Gatland which was initially expected on Tuesday even delayed.

The players had urged the PRB to have their representation in PRB meetings and also sought the removal of the 60-cap rule which is the edibility for the national selection for those plying trade overseas.

There was also a dispute of variable pay announced which had 80 per cent fixed with the remaining 20 per cent bonus depending on various factors like players' availability, form, win bonuses and other factors.

Nevertheless, the board has now fulfilled all the three conditions with WRPA Gareth Lewis now will attend all PRB meetings while the 60-cap rule now has been reduced to 25 Tests. The players will also be given an option of fixed or a variable pay.

"I am pleased to announce that after extensive conversations and discussions over the last week that the Wales vs England game will go ahead as scheduled," said Nigel Walker, interim CEO of Welsh Rugby.

"It is important going forward that we continue the dialogue that we have had in the last week or so but not under the circumstances we have had over the last week or so.

"Ken [Owens, Wales captain] and I, and some of the other senior players will be meeting more regularly than we have been.

"Gareth Lewis, chief executive of the WRPA, attended his first meeting today and he has got a standing invite and he will be invited to the Rugby Management Board.

"With regard to the 60-cap rule, it is still there, but that has been reduced to 25 caps.

"Going forward we will have a hybrid model where there will be the fixed-variable [contract] but there will also be a solely fixed model and the agent, the player, and the region can choose which one they want to have discussions about."

Meanwhile, Wales captain Ken Owens was pleased with the outcome but also expressed his anguish over the recent events.

"We are obviously happy but there has obviously been huge frustration over the past few months and it is disappointing that it has got to this stage," said Owens.

"The fact we had to make a stand, the collaboration and conversations that have taken place over the last 10 days or so, have shown that some positive resolutions can be found.

"We can continue to do that in the future with a seat at the PRB and Nigel offering to meet with us on a more regular basis so we don't end up with a situation like this in the future.

"They [the players] are satisfied. Hence why the game is on Saturday. It has been very tough as you can see from my voice. It has been another really tough event in Welsh Rugby which is hugely frustrating."